In what consists the greatness of Mary? It is in her capacity to receive everything from God. It is in her brave openness to the Supreme Gift, the Holy Spirit. She doesn’t say to the Angel of the Annunciation, “No, this is too great for me.” She gives permission to God to make the impossible in her. Thus, she is enabled to give us the Son of God, true man, true God.
Her destiny is beyond belief. The baby in her womb has been true God and true man right from the time she said yes to the Angel of the Lord. For nine months, she carried the Second Person of the Trinity in her womb. It wasn’t she who gave Jesus his divine nature. She couldn’t give what she didn’t have. The Son of God was divine from all eternity. But he took his flesh from her. The child was truly hers. He entered personally into his creation through her.
That is why she can give us Jesus Christ, true God, true man. Through her, Jesus can become our brother if we believe in him and are baptized. Indeed Mary’s maternity doesn’t end with the death of Christ. Before dying on the Cross, Jesus said to us through John the beloved who stood for us – “Behold your mother” and to Mary “Behold your son”. Yes, “The Lord wills to ‘let his face shine upon us’ as through the face of the Mother of God.” (Magnificat, January 2017, page 22)
St. Juan Diego experienced her motherhood firsthand, when he tried to avoid her at the usual apparition place in order to see his uncle who was gravely ill. He took another path. But Mary went out of her way to meet him and she let her face shine on Diego. She said, “I have the honor of being your mother. Why worry about your uncle? Go to the bishop, and say to him what I have commanded you. Am I not your mother, too? Isn’t that enough for you?”
At the same time Mary appeared to Diego, she also appeared to his uncle who was then healed.
Become aware of the tender look of Mary. She is looking at you personally, from person to person. She is the face of Jesus looking at you lovingly. The grace of grace is to see – in faith – the loving gaze of God on her face. Look at Christ looking at you. That is contemplative prayer.
Then you will be able to let him uproot all evil from your life. And you will become a warrior against evil in the world, through a life of service and prayer for others.
“May God let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!” (from the first reading of today’s Mass, Numbers 6:22-27)
God bless you, Fr. Pierre